New Jersey success stories

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Quality improvement endeavors can often feel overwhelming, but chances are, you can learn from the experiences that another physician, hospital or nursing home has had in a similar situation. Coupled with support from Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network, learning what has worked for others — and what didn't — is a valuable strategic planning component. 


Community Comes Together to Take Control of Diabetes

6/9/2017
Group PictureEleven individuals recently graduated from a free diabetes self-management workshop series that took place at the Pleasantville Library. The graduates all came together to learn ways to better manage their diabetes.

The Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP) was developed at Stanford University and aims to reduce risks associated with diabetes and help individuals live healthier and happier lives. The program consists of an evidence-based workshop series that takes place once a week for six weeks, for two and a half hours each time.
 
EDC Picture

Harry’s Renewed Confidence

A man named Harry graduated from the program with a sense of pride. Although he was hesitant to stay in the workshop at the beginning because he was the only male, he continued to participate and ended up having perfect attendance. 
 
Harry Walker PictureHarry felt strongly that the workshop changed his life. 
 
“I was eating too many sweets,” Harry recalled. 
 
Cookies and candies were some of his go-to foods, but now he makes sure to eat fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Cutting back on sweets and starchy foods helped Harry lose five pounds throughout the course of the six-week program.
 
Additionally, Harry realized the harm he was doing to his body by not being an active self-manager of his condition. He now feels more confident in his ability to prevent or delay serious complications typically caused by diabetes.
 
“I benefited from it, and I am going to keep benefiting from it,” Harry said of the workshop, which he also said helped him find his smile again and renewed energy that had been missing.

A Mother-Daughter Duo

MotherDaughterPictureOther workshop graduates included a mother and daughter duo named Patricia and Lisa. Patricia invited her daughter Lisa to attend and at first, Lisa was reluctant. She thought there was nothing she could do about her diabetes. 
 
Prior to the workshop, Lisa admitted she would eat candy and then tell her diabetes medication to “go get that sugar.” Now she makes healthier, more conscientious food choices and no longer drinks soda or flavored drinks. 
 
“I feel so much better now!” Lisa said. 
 
Participation in the workshops helped Patricia recognize the importance of reading food labels. She no longer goes to the grocery store unless she has a detailed grocery list that includes items to help her control her blood sugar levels.
 
Patricia did not want the workshops to end. 
 
“I got up in the morning and looked forward to the workshop each week,” she said. 
 
She has also been reading the complimentary textbook, Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions, 4th Edition, which is given to each workshop participant. 
 
Patricia says the workshops empowered her and others to learn how they can help themselves and live healthier lives with diabetes. 

Friends Reunited

PictureOther graduates who truly enjoyed the workshop were lifelong friends named Claudette and Barbara. Though they had been friends since the second grade, neither of them expected to see the other at the workshop because they both signed up independently.
 
It was a pleasant surprise for both when they arrived at the first session.
 
“I used to have a negative perception of diabetes, because many of my relatives passed away from diabetes-related complications,” Claudette said. 
The workshop introduced her to many self-management tools, including action planning, problem solving, decision making, healthy eating and exercise, all of which will support her in preventing or delaying complications. 
 
Barbara said the workshop opened up a whole new world to her.
 
“I was denying myself and I was very unhappy,” Barbara began. “Now I know I can still eat the food I want, but I will eat it in smaller portions.”
 
Barbara used to deprive herself of starchy foods she liked, such as baked potatoes. But now she eats just half a potato at a time and feels more fulfilled by incorporating a favorite food into her life again.
 
Barbara also said that the support from others coping with similar challenges made her feel better.  
 
“A lot of people are feeling the same way as me, and I am not by myself,” Barbara said. 
 
All of the graduates at Pleasantville Library were all thankful that they met one another, were able to share stories and experiences, and come together to take control of their diabetes.
 
Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network offers free diabetes self-management education in New Jersey as part of the national Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) initiative. For a list of available workshops, view the class schedule. For more information, to schedule, or register for a workshop, contact Jarmaine Williams at (732) 955-8168 or jwilliams@hqsi.org.